Minnesota Department of Natural Resources header

MINNESOTA DNR NEWS #42                                                                                             June 3, 2013
Minnesota state parks offer free admission on Saturday, June 8,
   in conjunction with
National Get Outdoors Day
DNR urges ATV enthusiasts to brush up on safety
DNR encourages lake service providers to register for
   aquatic invasive species
decontamination training
Edgewood Middle School establishes 125th Minnesota school forest
Lanesboro-to-Whalan segment of Root River State Trail to close for construction

Minnesota state parks offer free admission on
Saturday, June 8, in conjunction with National Get Outdoors Day
New, Legacy-funded virtual tours will help families pick a park or trail to visit

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is celebrating National Get Outdoors Day by offering free admission at all Minnesota state parks and recreation areas on Saturday, June 8. Many special programs will also take place at parks that day.

Families uncertain about which Minnesota state park or trail to visit will find a new trip-planning tool online: virtual tours. They feature 360-degree panoramic photos of 74 parks. The interactive photos allow viewers to pan right, left, up and down to see exactly what they would see if they were standing at that very spot in the park.

“The DNR conducted surveys and focus groups in 2007 to find out why people weren’t getting outdoors more often,” said Courtland Nelson, director of the DNR’s Parks and Trails Division. “One of the barriers the research identified was a lack of information. People specifically asked for more online trip-planning tools, such as virtual tours.”

The Parks and Trails Division used Legacy funds to create the virtual tours, which can be found online at www.mndnr.gov (www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/virtual_tours.html). Additional virtual tours – to include five Minnesota state trails, five state water trails and the Minnesota River Valley region – will be online by the end of the month.

“The virtual tours will help us connect more people to the outdoors,” Nelson said. “As soon as they see the beautiful panoramic photos of Minnesota state parks and trails, they will want to visit in person.”

Free programs, also aimed at motivating people to visit Minnesota state parks and trails
on June 8, include:

  • A hands-on “Make Your Own Walking Stick” activity, 1 p.m., Whitewater State Park (Altura).
  • An “Amazing Get Outdoors Day Race” that involves solving puzzles to uncover clues to guide people through the course, 1-3 p.m., Itasca State Park (Park Rapids).
  • “Canoeing 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Canoeing,” 8-10 a.m., Lake Vermilion State Park (Soudan).
  • “Make-and-Take Mini Binoculars,” 10-11 a.m., Interstate State Park (Taylors Falls).
  • Fly-fishing workshops with representatives from the Fly Fishing Federation, Trout Unlimited, the St. Paul Fly Tiers and the National Park Service, 9 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m., William O’Brien State Park (Marine on St. Croix).
  • An eight-mile “Two-wheel Tour,” 10 a.m.-noon, on the Gateway State Trail (North St. Paul).
  • Archery in the Park, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., at Lac qui Parle State Park (Montevideo), 12:30-3:30 p.m. at Soudan Underground Mine State Park (Soudan), and 11 a.m.-3 p.m., at Jay Cooke State Park (Carlton).

Details about these and many other free programs can be found in the online calendar at www.mndnr.gov.

The goal of National Get Outdoors Day is to introduce first-time visitors to state parks, state trails, fishing piers and other public lands. In particular, it aims to reconnect youth – whose participation in outdoor recreation has been declining – to the great outdoors.

DNR NEWS - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                            June 3, 2013

DNR urges ATV enthusiasts to brush up on safety

Now that the summer recreation season is officially in full swing, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is urging all-terrain vehicle (ATV) enthusiasts to brush up on safety.

“The weather warms up, school is out, it’s the time of year that we start seeing an increase in ATV accidents,” said 2nd Lt. Leland Owens, DNR’s recreational vehicle coordinator.

Owens said most ATV-related fatalities are the result of warned-against behaviors, such as driving too fast, driving while impaired and youths riding adult-sized ATVs.

“If you allow a youth to operate an ATV, make sure they are trained, fit the ATV, and are constantly supervised by an adult,” Owens said.

In the last five years, 90 Minnesotans, ages 5 to 94, have died in ATV accidents. More than 95 percent of those who died had not taken ATV safety training.

State ATV laws require youth ages 12-15 and anyone born after July 1, 1987, who is 16 or older, to take ATV safety training before operating on public lands. A free ATV safety CD is available from the DNR.  

Owens said regardless of age or experience, all ATV enthusiasts can further minimize their risk by simply adhering to a few basic ATV safety rules:

  • Always wear a helmet, goggles, long sleeves, long pants, over-the-ankle boots and gloves.
  • Slow down. Many accidents involve rollovers caused by excessive speed.
  • Except at safe crossings that are permitted by law, never ride on paved roads.
  • Never ride under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
  • Ride an ATV that fits and is age appropriate.
  • Always supervise riders younger than 16.
  • Complete DNR ATV safety training.

For more information on ATV safety training, trails and regulations: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/ohv/index.html.


DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                  June 3, 2013

DNR encourages lake service providers to register
for aquatic invasive species decontamination training

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is offering free training sessions this summer for lake service providers interested in hot-water/high-pressure decontamination methods to remove aquatic invasive species (AIS) from watercraft.

Attendees will learn proper decontamination methods and receive hands-on practice using DNR decontamination units that deliver 140 degree water at 2,500 pounds per square inch.

“These special training sessions give lake service providers the skills to be able to offer AIS decontamination services to their customers,” said April Rust, DNR invasive species training coordinator. “Businesses that complete the training will be included on the DNR’s new online list of businesses trained in using hot-water/high-pressure decontamination equipment.”

Starting July 1, businesses interested in offering AIS decontamination services must have a DNR service provider permit. To acquire a permit, businesses must attend AIS training, pass the test and pay a $50 permit and testing fee.

AIS training sessions for lake service providers will be offered in the morning prior to the decontamination trainings listed below:  

  • June 13, 1-4:30 p.m., Otter Tail County Sheriff's Operation Center, Ottertail, Minn. (Registration deadline: Friday, June 7).
  • June 19, 1-4:30 p.m., DNR Brainerd area office, Brainerd, Minn. (Registration deadline: Wednesday, June 12).
  • Aug. 1, 1-4:30 p.m., DNR Central Region headquarters (Warner Rd) St. Paul, Minn. (Registration deadline: Thursday, July 18).

Due to the hands-on nature and equipment logistics required for this type of class, the trainings have limited space and pre-registration is required. Registration will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis using the form at http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/rlp/permits/lsp/lsp-decon-reg-form.pdf. The training sessions will be cancelled if minimum class size is not reached.

Visit the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/lsp for more information. To register, or for more information, contact April Rust at april.rust@state.mn.us or 651-259-5706.

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                             June 3, 2013

Edgewood Middle School establishes 125th Minnesota school forest

Edgewood Middle School in Mounds View became the state’s 125th school forest during a ribbon-cutting ceremony June 3, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said.

Speakers at the event included DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr, Mounds View Superintendent Dan Hoverman and key students in the site’s development. Trees were also planted and site tours were given by students.

The school forest consists of about 15 acres of woods east of the school. The site contains a large loop trail that circles through woods and around a pond. To certify the site, the students themselves used GPS technology to determine the boundaries, learned about parcels and legal descriptions, helped create a committee, and stood before the school board to help pass the resolution declaring the site an official school forest. Plans are in place for students to remove invasive buckthorn from the site and to create an outdoor seating area.

The Edgewood School Forest helps students recognize that natural resources are located everywhere. It provides nearby access to nature to allow for weekly or daily studies. Edgewood students and staff are studying wildlife, removing invasive species, and plan to do water quality testing in the ponds.

Edgewood Middle School is a STEAM School – Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. “The school forest provides a place for studies to apply real-world, investigation and problem-solving skills in the outdoor classroom.  Edgewood’s STEAM focus has allowed the students to consider their school forest from many angles,” said Penny Howard, Edgewood principal.

Teachers use school forests as an outdoor classroom to teach a variety of lessons across many curricula, including writing, social studies, art, math and science.

The school has adapted an interdisciplinary learning hour every week where studies combine math, science, social studies and art to investigate topics. Many of these investigations focus on aspects of the school forest – as the students learn outdoors.

The DNR School Forest program provides school staff with many benefits, including access to DNR education programs, specialized trainings, grant connections and outdoor lessons that address state academic standards. A DNR forester will help create a site-specific land management plan to maintain the school forests for optimum long-term forest health.  

Funding for this project was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR).

Currently there are 125 school forests in Minnesota reaching more than 30,000 students annually. For more information about the DNR’s school forest program, visit www.mndnr.gov/schoolforest.


DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                      June 3, 2013

Lanesboro-to-Whalan segment of
Root River State Trail to close for construction

The 4.5-mile segment of the Root River State Trail that travels between the towns of Lanesboro and Whalan in southeastern Minnesota will be closed for repairs, beginning June 17, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said.

The trail will be repaved and widened from 8 to 10 feet, and two small bridges will be replaced with culverts. The project is expected to be complete by July 12.

There will be no marked detour around the segment that is under repair. Until repairs are complete and the segment has been reopened, the DNR encourages the public to use the other 37.5 miles of the trail and to explore the adjacent 18-mile Harmony-Preston Valley State Trail.

Beginning in Fountain, the 42-mile Root River State Trail was built on an abandoned railroad and runs through the communities of Lanesboro, Whalan, Peterson, Rushford and Houston. First paved in 1987, the Lanesboro-to-Whalan segment is one of the most popular sections of the state trail.

For construction updates and more information, visit the Root River State trail Web page at

Funding for this grant program is from the Parks and Trails Fund, created after voters approved the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment in November 2008. The Parks and Trails Fund receives 14.25 percent of the sales tax revenue and may only be spent to support parks and trails of regional or statewide significance.

This email was sent to editor@woodsnews.com on behalf of: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources · 500 Lafayette Road · Saint Paul, MN 55155 · 1-888-MINNDNR  

back to woodsnews